Warping text

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For all its glories, text in Photoshop has always lacked an option widely used by designers creating type in drawing programs: the ability to fit text to a path. You were limited to creating straight lines of text only — no wrapping type around a circle or otherwise bending your words.

You still can't fit text to a path in Photoshop 6, but you may be able to get close to the effect you want by using the new Warp Text feature. Similar to the text art features that have been available in word processing programs for some time, Warp Text bends and distorts text to simulate the effect of fitting text to a path. You can choose from 15 different path shapes and choose to curve type, distort it, or both.

Tip You can warp paragraph text or regular text, but the warp always affects all existing text on the layer. So if you want to reshape just a part of a line of text — for exam jF pie, to make the last few letters in a word bend upward — put that bit of text on its own layer.

In addition, note that you can't warp type to which you've applied the faux styles that reside on the Character palette menu. Nor can you warp bitmap fonts or fonts for which the designer hasn't provided the paths, or outlines, that make up the font characters.


After selecting a text layer, click the Warp Text button on the Options bar, labeled in Figure 15-21, or choose Layer ^ Type ^ Warp Text. Photoshop displays the Warp Text dialog box, also shown in the figure.

Warp Text

Warp Text

Photoshop Warp Text Shape
Figure 15-21: Use the controls in the Warp Text dialog box to simulate the effect of fitting text to a path.

After choosing a warp design from the Style pop-up menu, set the orientation of the warp by clicking the Horizontal or Vertical radio button. Then adjust the Bend, Horizontal Distortion, and Vertical Distortion sliders until you get an effect that fits your needs. You can preview your changes in the image window.

I'm sure you could easily figure out how this dialog box works, but a few hints may speed you on your way:

4 When you select the Horizontal radio button, the warp occurs as the shape in the Style pop-up menu suggests. If you choose Vertical, the warp is applied as if you turned the shape on its side.

4 Use the Bend value to change the direction of the curve. For the warp style selected in Figure 15-21, for example, a positive Bend value curves the text upward, as shown in the top example in Figure 15-21, and a negative value curves the text in the opposite direction, as shown in the second example.

4 You can use the Horizontal and Vertical Distortion options to create perspective effects. Horizontal Distortion puts the origin point of the perspective to the left if you enter a positive value and to the right if you enter a negative value. I used a positive value to create the third line of text in Figure 15-21.

Vertical Distortion, as you can probably guess, places the origin point above the text if you enter a positive value and below the text if you enter a negative value. I created the bottom line of type in Figure 15-21 by entering a positive Vertical Distortion value.

4 If you edit warped text, Photoshop reapplies the original warp to the layer.

Tip After warping the text, you can often improve the effect by tweaking the tracking, kerning, and other character spacing and scaling formatting. If you have trouble * achieving the distortion or perspective effect you're after, bypass the Warp Text dialog box and instead use Edit ^ Free Transform to manipulate the text layer. (You must get out of text edit mode to access the command.) The steps in the next section offer an example of this technique.

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